The context of the scene generates the words and action in the military conflict. So, I asked... Why now? Why not a month or two ago? Why not three months from now? What specific context generated the current actions of Hamas? What are their political and military aims? And how do they attempt to achieve them?
The context includes; what was happening directly before. What approach they are taking during. What demands they are making as part of a cease fire to end the conflict.
Militarily, Hamas knows that they are outgunned. They know that they cannot get through the Iron Dome to kill Israelis with their rockets; yet they keep firing. Why? What are they hoping to gain?
In comes the context of the scene...
Hamas has lost many of their largest financial backers all at once; for different reasons. Iran, Syria, the Arab Bank, and more. For several months they have not been able to properly pay some 44,000 employees. Hamas's financial backs are against a wall.
Source: Accuracy in Media: Caroline Glick http://www.aim.org/guest-column/hamass-and-irans-fail-safe-strategy/
The domino effect. Hamas (Sunni) supports the Syrian resistance (Sunni). Loses Syrian Government support and then Iran removes it's support as a result.
The most important funding source that dried up is money smuggled through tunnels on the Egyptian border and the tax revenue generated from that money. Egypt destroyed those tunnels. Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4439/congress-israel-hamas
Money from Iran was arriving in suitcases through the tunnels.
Raw materials for factory production don't make it in. Then, tax revenue from factory production falls off.
Economists in Gaza and Hamas call tunnel revenue 40% - 70% of Government funding. That is now sealed off. June to October 2013 Hamas losses at about 460 million of 700 million budget. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/09/us-palestinian-hamas-crisis-idUSBRE99804P20131009
Compounding this, those who sympathize with Hamas seems to be Qatar and Turkey. Funds to cover the shortfall were blocked at the Arab Bank by the United States Government. Source: http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-blocked-qatari-funds-intended-for-hamas-employees/
Hamas, unable to pay it's workers then formed a Unity Government with the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority then refused to pay for fear of losing it's backers.
So, a core political aim of Hamas is to raise money and the timeline of their money issues and the escalation to conflict; where Hamas was firing rockets directly at Israel, matches up cleanly.
What asymmetric warfare strategy does this generate?
Here is what Bill Clinton says about Hamas's aims.
This is an old strategy that has been used all along. Here is drone footage of what this looks like in theater; in practice via Hamas:
Source: Israel's strategy to reduce collateral damage article: http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/07/israel-warns-civilians-to-stay-out-of-harms-way-hamas-sends-them-back-in/
The extreme of this is shown in this documentary on the use of human shields with interviews and Israel's methods of preventing deaths to civilians http://youtu.be/70Oqo_wmuGo?list=PL2C8386FACDEE2A25
I've shown you what this gruesome strategy of using human shields looks like from above. Here is what it looks like on the rocket launcher level. http://youtu.be/Yu54aSM6QOE
Why must Israel respond? Watch this video of civilians in Southern Israel panicking and running to bomb shelters during a rocket attack. This is what Hamas rockets make life like for Israelis. With over 1900 fired so far in this conflict. http://youtu.be/LwnAk1pTCew?list=PL2C8386FACDEE2A25
Why are they doing this? Why is Hamas placing civilians directly in the line of fire? What do they aim to achieve?
Return to the initial context. Hamas has lost it's sympathizers. It has lost it's financial backing. It's back is against the wall. The Palestinian Authority has not agreed to fund Hamas, the normal revenue sources are cut off, so they are in financial free fall.
So, what is their new political aim? Escalate a conflict with Israel; to generate as much civilian death as possible, express the deaths through all media appearances and play the victim, and build a new base of sympathizes to generate revenue.
This is the only conflict in the world where every single death is spread immediately via social media; and there are even deaths made up, in some cases even copying scenes from Hollywood movies.
In contrast, during the Iraq War, when around 130,000 civilians were killed; it barely made the news. The daily count was of US soldiers killed, or wounded... but, not of what happened to civilians.
The systematic effort to drive up deaths to gain sympathizers then moves to the PR campaign. When asked any questions about cease fire... or, a peaceful way forwards, Hamas leaders aim to bring up any form of civilian death. They focus on spreading words about what they helped to create.
Watch this video from Fox News where Israel explains itself, while a Hamas senior leader plays out his strategy.
As confirmation that making payroll is a major component of Hamas's military calculus in this escalation review the demands they are making for a cease fire. One of their cease fire demands is to have their payroll covered.
The Unity Government is formed June 2nd. When Hamas starts to work on getting funding to pay it's employees.
June 12th Kidnapping of three Israeli teens.
June 30th Bodies found
July 2nd the Unity Government officially refuses to pay the Hamas salaries.
Same day a 16 year old Palestinian is found dead.
July 5th his cousin was beaten.
July 8th the military escalation has occurred. Hamas fires 40 rockets into Israel and we are off to the races.
By July 11th, 1000 Israeli airstrikes and 700 rockets fired from Hamas.
While there is death involved in this period of time... this does not provide the military rationale for a large scale escalation against a military that is much larger and can defend against all of your attacks.
The military aim of retribution by annihilating the Israelis is completely unattainable.
Also, if Palestinian death toll tends to be higher when Hamas and Israel are fighting; then why would they launch a war knowing that any number of deaths would exceed the one, or two, who died.
My theory is that the deaths of the two Palestinian boys; which were absolute tragedies, were used as cover. Enough energy and anger boiled up in the Palestinian street; and rightfully so, that an escalation appeared to have a reason.
Yet... just days before Hamas militants had promised blood in the street when it's striking workers took over the banks trying to extort money to cover the payroll of their financially collapsing organization.
My final evidence is that as part of cease fire deals Hamas, who should have no leverage to negotiate, is asking for the Egyptian border to be opened. If their conflict is with Israel and they are firing rockets at Israel; then why is Hamas making demands of Egypt?
Qatar has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars for Hamas that was blocked by the United States in partnership with the Arab Bank. In the past, that money would travel by bank, or in suitcases through smuggling tunnels; which Egypt has now destroyed. The moment the Egyptian border opened; this is what would flow through. The overall motives of the conflict have been revealed by this demand made during their presentation of an exit strategy.
Update: Jinsa.org released a complete analysis of the conflict that backs up my findings http://www.jinsa.org/files/2014GazaAssessmentReport.pdf
Update: Following the war, Hamas began paying backdated wages.